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[PRESS KIT] Focus on author or book?

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:48 pm
by MR B
A bit of an over-simplification... I have written two books that are both non-fiction, but considerably different. The commonality is that I wrote them both and, they are designed to be "thought-provoking." The first is about working with kids and the lessons learned. The second, about to be released, is about tradition in a fraternal organization and it's value in today's society.

So... as I consider preparing a press kit, I'm forced to wonder if it focuses on the author or the book(s)... It would be possible to have boilerplate that applies to both books with an insert regarding the specific book... or to make the story about the author and his varied work... I'm not sure there's an absolutely correct answer but would love some opinions and thoughts.

For example, in suggesting interview questions, are the questions about writing or about the books?

if it helps, the books are:
  • Small People -- Big Brains: Stories about Simplicity, Exploration and Wonder.
  • Exploring Tradtions: Celebrating the Grange Way of Life.

Re: [PRESS KIT] Focus on author or book?

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:56 pm
by Seisa
This might help. Joanna Penn is well known in self-publishing.

Re: [PRESS KIT] Focus on author or book?

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:57 am
by walton
I'm impressed! I've talked about press kits whenever someone asks about marketing. And, lo, here you are asking a great question.

In advertising, there are two major categories (greatly oversimplifying here): brand advertising and product advertising. Or, you might say author advertising and book advertising. I think, however, that with something like a press kit, you can push both almost equally.

One problem is that you have talking about two books, and different books at that. Even if they have different audiences, you are likely to be going to the same, or overlapping, media, interviewers, reviewers, etc. Personally, I'm of the the-more-the-better school. Two books are better than one. That is personally. When I was in advertising, I read Advertising Age regularly. There was almost always something about the McDonald's v. Burger King rivalry. What struck me about it was this: every time Burger King came out with a new sandwich it's market share dropped.

OK . . . so BK came out with a chicken sandwich and it's customer base, what, forgot they made burgers!? Down 1-3 points. Huh!? Honestly, I do not get it. But that pattern was consistent, not just for them but other products.

Arguably two different books are like two different sandwiches.

Honestly, I don't know. But that is what I've observed. Perhaps if you have different people/organization you approach for each book, or maybe stagger the contacts so what might be a follow-up 6 weeks or so later, could use the other book.

Food for thought, but I'm guessing you've already thought all this.

Re: [PRESS KIT] Focus on author or book?

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:46 pm
by MR B
Thanks for the thoughts... as I work on it, it occurs to me that my books are more different than alike in terms of demographics and market, so it seems a bit more appropriate to create a template which can work for each book. It comes at it from the product but implies the brand?

One bias I have always had is markets don’t buy books (or burgers), people do. So it makes sense to sell to the people.

Press-wise the question may be “What’s the story?” I am really liking your comparison. Is it about the sandwich or the restaurant? I think in my case I have a good sandwich to talk about that will get people into the restaurant where they just might try a dessert.

If I promote the restaurant I could lose market share to someone who offers a great sandwich.

Ironically, I worked in a fast food place many years ago and did some market research while picking up trash in the parking lot. A lot of people were getting milk shakes across the street, then coming to us for burgers. So... which do we promote?

Re: [PRESS KIT] Focus on author or book?

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:45 pm
by Michelle
You need three: one for each book and one for you. If you want to get speaking gigs, you are the product, not your books. It’s like going to a theme restaurant—the food may be secondary to the experience, and that is the Point of Difference from other restaurants.

Re: [PRESS KIT] Focus on author or book?

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:25 am
by walton
Michelle, thank you. It wasn't until I read your post that I remembered tailoring my resume to look for work, many many years ago. I think I had something over 12!

Re: [PRESS KIT] Focus on author or book?

Posted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:48 am
by MR B
I did end up creating a press kit for the book... and will ultimately do so for the other (it's been around for a while). The logic of what you've both said becomes apparent when I started. For example, the suggested interview questions for "Exploring Traditions" are different than "Small People--Big Brains." An author press kit could, I think, look for similarities between the two books. Both are, at some level, about exploration... I'm still playing with how to present things on my website, but it does seem to be coming together. Thank you both for your input and help!

Re: [PRESS KIT] Focus on author or book?

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:48 am
by walton
Good luck!